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A Cultural Exchange of Knowledge

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Randall Nadeau takes a selfie with students in Taiwan

Religion professor serves as executive director for Fulbright commission in Taiwan

by Abigail DeNike ’20

The Fulbright Program promotes “a world with a little more knowledge, and a little less conflict.” This motto is something religion professor Randall Nadeau, Ph.D., has embraced. From researching in Taiwan in 2014 to his new position as the executive director of the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange in Taiwan, Nadeau has dedicated himself to embracing cultural learning and strengthening Trinity’s network of international scholarship. 

When Nadeau returned to Trinity after his time in Taiwan, he remained active with the Fulbright Program through his work on the selection committee for scholars applying to Taiwan. Recently, he was invited back to Taiwan to the executive director post. This honor is significant, in part because the job is usually given to a longstanding Fulbright staff member. Nadeau is the first Trinity faculty member to serve as an executive director to any Fulbright program. He will be living in Taiwan working in his new position for at least one year, which began in August.  

His job includes overseeing 30 dedicated colleagues who work to coordinate sponsorships, lectures, cultural events, an on-line journal, and outreach to Fulbright’s partners. Nadeau and his coworkers are supporting a thriving program in Taiwan; there are 178 American students and scholars in Taiwan - 128 of which are American English-Language-Assistants.

Nadeau’s research focus is in the history of religion in Taiwan, so when he was awarded a Fulbright grant to research in Taiwan in 2014, it was the perfect opportunity to explore eastern religions in a richer context. Nadeau’s time spent in Taiwan is a benefit to students, too; they love learning from a professor with experiential knowledge. Nadeau’s core courses at Trinity include “Cultural Perspectives on Asian Religions,” “Buddhist Ethics,” “Taoism and Personal Identity,” “Being Young in Asia,” and more. 

Both students and scholars can participate in Fulbright programs, but the original purpose of the Program, founded in 1946, was to provide an opportunity for America’s scholars to conduct research around the world. Scholars can apply to and “match” with a country. Scholar applications are then reviewed by commissions in both America and the host country. If selected, scholars can be awarded a grant to conduct research ranging from 2 weeks to up to 11 months in the host country. Fulbright is also an exchange program: When American scholars go to a different country, scholars from that country come and study here. 

The Fulbright Program is an independent NGO, and Nadeau’s commision is jointly funded by the US and Taiwan governments. If you wish to support Fulbright Programs, Nadeau asks that contact your local congressman to say “Fund Fulbright!” Or, consider applying for a Fulbright grant to one of 160 partner nations. 

Abigail DeNike ’20 is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a minor in creative writing. She is a writing intern for the Strategic Communications and Marketing department.